WTO TRIPS Council (November 2012): Intervention of India on 10th annual review of Article 66.2 (TRIPS Agreement)

On 6 November 2012, India delivered the following intervention under agenda item J, "Tenth Annual Review under Paragraph 2 of the Decision on the Implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement".

TENTH ANNUAL REVIEW UNDER PARAGRAPH 2 OF THE DECISION ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ARTICLE 66.2 OF THE TRIPS AGREEMENT

Intervention on Agenda item J: Art 66.2

One of the important objective of the TRIPS Agreement enshrined in Article 7 is “the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights should contribute to the promotion of technological innovation and to the transfer and dissemination of technology.” Indeed, “developing countries, in particular, see technology transfer as part of the bargain in which they have agreed to protect intellectual property rights.” In this regard Article 66.2 created a legal obligation for developed country members to provide incentives to their enterprises and institutions to encourage technology transfer to the LDCs. The Doha Declaration on Implementation Related Issues and Concerns further reaffirmed the binding nature of the obligation.

Mr Chairman, at the occasion of the 10th annual review, we need to reflect
• Whether the legal obligations on the developed countries through Article 66.2, have been effective in promoting and encouraging technology transfer to the LDCs?
• Whether Art 66.2 has been successful in creating a viable technological base in the least developed countries?
• Are we are in a position to know whether the developed countries have indeed fulfilled their obligations?
• If we are not sure of the effect of Art 66.2 on the LDCs, can we ask the LDCs to bear the considerable cost of protecting the intellectual property by implementing the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement.

It is important for all of us to remember that without a sound technological base, if the LDCs are asked to implement the TRIPS Agreement, we are afraid that the technological gap between LDCs and the rest of the countries would be further widened and they would be marginalized in the global economy. This would defeat the important objective of the TRIPS Agreement, where the Preamble “recognizes the special needs of the least-developed country Members in respect of maximum flexibility in the domestic implementation of laws and regulations in order to enable them to create a sound and viable technological base”. Therefore, the Members, especially the LDCs, have a right to know if there is sufficient evidence to prove if the trade off through Art 66.2 was indeed effective.

Mr Chairman, it is in this over all context, that we need to look at the motivated request to be made by the LDCs, under Other Business of this meeting, for the extension of their transition period beyond 2013 to implement the TRIPS Agreement. There is therefore an urgent need to set up a Monitoring Mechanism, under the TRIPS Council, to find out if Art 66.2 has been effective in inducing technology transfer beyond business as usual approach of most of the developed countries.

Let me conclude by saying India is committed to the cause of creating sound and viable technological base in the LDCs and welcomes any initiative from the LDCs to set up a Monitoring Mechanism.